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15 September 2011

A Week in Tuscany: Day 2, 1st part-Montepulciano, Pienza and more...

Today is going to be quite intense, and you will drive a bit further than the day before, specially if you have decided to stay at Colle di Val d'Elsa. This is our route: Montepulciano, Pienza, S. Quirico d'Orcia, Sant'Antimo Abbey and Montacilno.

Of course, this can be also great for a two day itinerary of you prefer so :)

Palazzo Comunale, Montepulciano

The distance between Colle di val d’Elsa and Montepulciano is around 87 Km. Montepulciano is a gorgeous medieval town with a long slope up a hill, quite famous also because of its wine. Its fortress has been destroyed and rebuilt several times and it was one of the main locations of war between Sienna and Florence. No very long ago, it was shown, featuring as Volterra, in one of the Twilight movies, New Moon. Make sure you go up the main street up to the Cathedral or Duomo. You will be in the middle of a square with a well, the cathedral and the city hall, the Palazzo Comunale. You can go up the tower and the views are really worth it.

In the cathedral you can admire on of the master pieces of the Sienese SchoolAssumption of the Virgin, by Taddeo di Bartolo, 1401. There are many other churches and palazzos, so you can stroll around and end up having lunch in of the restaurants. Don’t forget to taste the area’s wine, Vino Nobile di Montepulciano.

Views, Montepulciano

When leaving Montepulciano and at the start of your way to Pienza –only 13 Km- stop at the Temple of San Biagio, a church from the Cinquecento. It is worth it both because of the church and because of the views of Montepulciano.

Views of Montepulciano and San Biagio

Our next stop is Pienza, its centre was designed by erudite Pope Pius II, who was born there and tried to adapt it to the Renaissance ideas. It used to be called Corsignano. Bernardo Rossellino was in charge of the catedral, the pope’s palace and the city hall. The project was never completed as a whole. Visit Palazzo Piccolomini if you have the time. By the way. This is where the famous cheese Pecorino, about which I was talking about in another post, comes from. So, is there any better time to taste it or to buy some than while visiting Pienza? Views from town are also gorgeous. And with those views I am finishing this post so that it is not too long. To be continued in a few days…



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